Microsoft's Windows 8 now in Kenya

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

Microsoft has launched its new operating system, Windows 8, in the Kenyan market, promising application developers a new platform for producing innovative products.

Windows 8 has so far enjoyed a positive reception in the international market, particularly for being the first Windows OS to have a multi-touch interface, allowing users to customise their PC experience across various functions.

“Windows 8 allows the consumer to create, work, or play with a personalised experience that fits their unique style and needs,” said Windows Group Business Manager in Africa, Kevin Connolly, Nairobi’s Stanley Hotel.

Windows 8 further provides home users an interactive web experience that integrates social networking with seamless multimedia. For business users, it allows conducting of business on-the-go incorporating the use of PC, phone, and tablet at the same time besides cloud services for data backup.

Software developers stand to benefit from the opportunity to create applications that run on Windows 8-enabled devices, providing an income stream for Kenyan IT start ups.

“The tablet market has not been fully exploited and developers now have an opportunity to create solutions that can be used both by enterprises and individual consumers,” said Vincent Mugambi, the developer platform manager at Microsoft.

Mugambi said the operating system would create demand for touch-enabled devices, presenting app developers an opening to create locally relevant applications.

Mugambi said Microsoft hoped to have top-up initiative agreements with hardware developers like Samsung and HP, where tablets imported into Kenya come installed with apps that are widely used by Kenyans.

In developed IT markets, Android and IOS devices from different hardware manufacturers come pre-installed with commonly used applications, creating a ready market for and competition among local software developers.

Consumers can upgrade their existing PCs that run genuine Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 to download Windows 8 Pro at an estimated retail price of $39.99 (Sh3,400) between now and January.

Users with Windows 7 PCs bought between June 2 and January 31, 2013 can download Windows 8 Pro for a retail price of $14.99 (Sh1,275).

Mugambi said software piracy was on the decline because most new hardware was coming with genuine software pre-installed.

Online notification to users that their software is not genuine was also helping discourage counterfeits which are estimated to account for 80 per cent of the software being used in Kenya. 

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